No Cause to Die ForDavid Dilley / Mystery & Detective
No Cause to Die For
David W. Dilley
Copyright 2011 David W. Dilley
As I consider the time I have spent in researching and working on this book, I must acknowledge that without the support and encouragement of friends, I would not have continued this endeavor. I have received great joy from this experience and am grateful for all my friends and their support.
We must remember that without friends we are seriously lacking in one of the major influences that can help us deal with life. Our friends can give us valuable personal insight and provide us with learning experiences that we otherwise would not have had.
There are many special friends who have given me the inspiration to write this book. These friends have provided the support and incentive to embark upon this labor of love. I dedicate this book to those special friends, guiding lights in this daily trek through life’s continued voyage. I thank you all for your input and direction. You are truly rare gems!
The writing style used in this book does not follow any particular style for grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, or any other form that is acceptable by English standards. It is, however, a style of its own, combining various forms, and non-forms, to bring to the reader a more fluent verse of conversation and thought.
Two notations in particular indicate breaks in thought, speech or time/location. The ellipsis ( ... ) are used to indicate a pause or break in thought or speech when used within text. When placed at the end of a line or on a line by themselves, they are used to indicate a change of time, location, or scene.
Unlike many books, chapters are organized and arranged to provide quick stopping off points for specific time frames, locations, ideas, happenings, or change of thoughts. Some chapters are longer than others because they focus on information provided to give the reader an “inside” look at the characters lives, while other chapters are quite short and meant to lead into other situations.
It is the intention of the author to provide a textual environment that best represents the actual syntax of the moment. In conversation, as also in thoughts, we do not preface our words with he said or she said. Neither do we add the common literary suffixes belaboring the fact that the preceding statement was spoken by the person who said it.
In some case, the reader will find words have been “bastardized” in order to provide a more phonetic sounding word to represent the original spoken word. In other instances, the author has used misspellings and phonetic spellings to portray an emotion or style being exhibited by the person speaking.
It is the authors hope that as the reader becomes more familiar with this style, they will find the material more like conversation that they encounter in everyday life. This should help make the character’s speech easier to understand, and more enjoyable to follow.
As he sat at his desk he scanned through the national morning paper. Skipping from one article to another, he gleaned the basic facts from the happenings the day before. He stopped on one item and read it over carefully. The headline read: DESPAIRED STUDENT TAKES LIFE. It said that at one of the Midwestern universities, a discouraged student committed suicide by jumping from the top on a dormitory building.
While it was tragic, the senseless death of a college student was not what kept his attention. Further on in the article it indicated the student was about to graduate with honors, and would have been continuing study for a Masters. Friends had indicated that no despondency, or change in behavior was noticeable in the few days prior to the death.
Berry was wondering what would drive a person to take their own life. Why would I... there's no good reason... I suppose if I were desperate enough... naw, there's NO good reason!
He sometimes struggled with his own existence. He would look into this he decided... kinda like a real case. He just couldn't accept it. Not because foul play seemed to be involved, but because he needed to know for himself... why?
He laid the paper down and swung his chair around. Here he was at last. His own business, doing something he liked, free to follow his own path. What more could a person ask for?
As he glanced around the room, he felt as if he was in the presents of a wise old friend. The Collier Building was quite old with a long history. It was now doing double duty as his office and living quarters. Berry had always liked the old building, and when he got a chance to buy it he couldn't pass it up.
When he got it from the city, it had been used for several years to store the Christmas decoration for the downtown shopping areas. The city acquired it in the 70's, and used it to maintenance school buses until the mid 80's. The ground floor had several large garage doors that allowed access. Except for support pillars, the concrete floor area was open, with no dividing walls. A stair case ran along the west wall leading up to the main floor.
The layout of the main floor was almost the same, with the exception of an enclosed area about 12 feet wide to the right of the stair landing. This area, which had once served as the warehouse office, was now a bedroom and adjoining bathroom.
It had been built in 1903 by the Hershel W. Collier Company. The company had been a family owned business that repaired and supplied parts for horse drawn delivery wagons. During the 20's, rumor has it that it was used by local bootleggers to hide shipments of booze.
Up until 1944, it served as various warehouses of one type or another. In '44 the building became the city's rally point for scrap drives to help with the war effort. According to those who know, or pretend to know, the owner donated its use for the sundry drives organized to save money. They say that the Andrews Sisters came, along with others, on a national tour to sell war bonds, and dedicated the building to that use.
After the war, until the city bought it, it was everything from a gambling joint, to a missionary outreach. Berry thought about the history that was written in these walls. If only they could talk... what they know... what they've seen...
Looking about the room he noticed that it seemed to adjust to the new situation quite well. In the far corner, a small kitchenette angled around the walls, covering a few feet on both sides. Bounded by a small refrigerator on one end, and a stove on the other, the cabinets, sink, and microwave were nestled in between. A round table sat in the middle of the V, almost giving it a real kitchen look.
The adjacent corner was now the home of a most magnificent display of electronics and computer equipment. Berry had designed his own systems. It allowed him to search various data banks for help in solving cases and correlated the information gathered. He had added a few of his own little gadgets to the system. The combination of various graphs and readouts, displayed on the row of computer monitors, gave it the appearance of a NASA control panel.
Next to it, along the wall, was the "OFFICE" as he referred to it. The office consisted of several desks, mostly covered with papers, and a row of filing cabinets with many of the drawers left pulled out. As always, the area was in a state of disarray. Berry had his own method of filing things. The top of each pile held the most current papers, with the date descending as you moved further down the pile... some day he would get around to entering everything into his computer's data bank... but until then... this would work.
As it was his habit every morning, the TV was on blearing the news to anyone within earshot who was willing to listen. He glanced up just in time to catch a story about an anti-government group in Nevada having a shoot-out with the FBI... stupid! ... what dummies!... don't they know you can't fight city hall... or the federal government for that matter... They got all the guns... all we have is people... his voice echoed slightly off the walls as he mused out loud.
The Morning News, and then the Morning Talk Show, it was beginning to be a habit. First the cold hard facts of the day... who's at war... how's the economy... what's gone wrong with the presidents plans now!... and then... whew! … a break! ... entertainment... plain fun. No worries… just enjoy their little bantering… such a waste of time... but so much fun to watch!!... he settled down to be entertained... and lost track of time...
Berry swung his chair around again to come face to face with what he considered an obnoxious reminder of his life going by. There, yelling out at him in those glaring red numerals, was the time, chastening him for losing track... 9:48 AM it shouted... he was going to be late!!
He had a 10:00 appointment with Stanley Gruter at the University Development Office. That was a 15 minute drive from here. He grabbed his note pad and took off across the room like a jackrabbit startled from its hiding place. Holy Smokes... what am I going to tell Gruter? He won't be pleased... Berry thought about several stories he could tell that might make it sound as if he was really busy and lost track of time... boy, if he knew I was watching TV.
By the time he pulled up to the front of the office, it was 10:13. He had made good time, but he was still late. His mind flew with a thousand explanation scenarios... now what can I say?... I suppose I could... As he crossed the path leading to the plate glass doors, his mind was blank, but by then it was too late.
He could see Gruter standing just inside the doors, waving his hand, motioning for him to come on in. As he stepped through the door, Gruter grabbed him by the arm and began leading him down the corridor to his office. I'm so glad you’re here Berry! I was worried that something may have kept you from coming. I don't know what I would have done if you weren't available to help. It’s kind of sensitive... aahh... we'll talk in my office!
Berry had no problem with that. He was just glad he didn't have to deal with a lecture on tardiness. Stanley had been a teacher for 26 years before his position at the university. He had a tendency to treat people like students. Berry had worked for him several times before involving employees suspected of stealing. Once he had been a day late, according to Gruter, turning over his findings, and Gruter had launched into a lecture on the importance of promptness.
Sit down Berry. I'll fill you in on my little problem. It seems that there is a feud going on inside the organization that controls our state college system. A certain faction wants to eliminate all sports programs from state supported schools. Their philosophy is that since funds are short, all current funding should go to academic endeavors for the advancement of state educational facilities. And since extracurricular activities are primarily used for recreation, funding should be stopped.
This position is not new. It has been debated in academic circles ever since the first students received an education in exchange for their physical abilities.
The other faction points out that these institutions receive large amounts of money from the revenue they generate off of the sporting events, and are given donations from alumni that are pleased with a team’s performance.
So who's winning? Berry wasn't really curious.., he just wanted to sound like he was paying attention.
That's just why I called you Berry. Up until now, prudence demanded we academic types make bedfellows with the sports types. Even I can see the necessity of it. In reality, if it weren't for the income from some of our sports programs, we would have to close some of our less profitable colleges.
But now things are changing. The anti-sports faction has an advantage. The famous social psychologist and author Marie Burton has joined their ranks. She was appointed to the Governing Board last fall. From the information I have obtained, they have formed an un-official committee to spearhead the movement.. They call it the Committee to Disband College Sports.
Our University is governed by this Board. We have to abide by its rulings... however, we have no intentions of disbanding our sports programs. This would mean we would also have to close several of our less profitable colleges.
One of our major drawing factors is that we offer such a wide range of educational choices. You can see how it could lead to the total down scaling of the university... loss of jobs... loss of income... a disaster for the whole economy of this area.
Berry was thinking how this was much bigger than finding a dishonest employee. A bigger price too! So you want me to keep an eye on this situation and try to sway the balance... or something like that.
Gruter looked straight at Berry. The look of a desperate man was on his face. You can see how sensitive this is. I don't have to tell you what could happen if it leaks out that I hired you. This has to be kept quiet. Your job is to keep me informed of all information you obtain about this faction, its plans, and it members.
In other words, you want me to dig up dirt you can use to discredit them. Berry got right to the point.
No. I didn't say that! What I said... Berry cut him off... I know what you said. And if along the way, I happen to find out something that... let’s say is less than perfect about them... something you can use against them... you wanta know.
Stanley, I'm not so sure that the university and this community would be damaged as badly as you say if this group won their battle... but you've hired me to do a job, and that's what I'll do. As far as the dirt goes, if it’s pertinent I'll include it. I'll call you this Saturday at 9:00 to set a time we can meet to review what I have found out. Until then...
Berry got up, shook Gruter's hand and promptly exited the office. He was feeling kind of perky. A major assignment, full fee plus bonuses, and he had left with the upper hand on old Gruter. This may turn out to be a great day after all!